Islamic mythology

The Prophet and his companions advancing on Mecca, attended by the angels Gabriel, Michae, Israfil and Azrael. An illustration from Siyer-i Nebi.
Miraj by Sultan Muhammad

Islamic mythology is the body of myths associated with Islam and the Quran. Islam is a religion that is more concerned with social order and law than with religious myths.[1] The Oxford Companion to World Mythology identifies a number of traditional narratives as "Islamic myths".[1] These include a creation myth and a vision of afterlife, which Islam shares to some extent with the other Abrahamic religions, as well as the distinctively Islamic story of the Kaaba.[1]

The traditional biography of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, which plays a central role in Islamic teachings, is generally recognized as being largely historical in nature, and Islam depends less on mythology than Judaism and Christianity.[1] However, the canonical narrative includes two key supernatural events: the divine revelation of the Quran and the Isra and Mi'raj — the night journey to Jerusalem followed by the ascension to the Seventh Heaven.[1] In addition, Islamic scriptures contain a number of legendary narratives about biblical characters, which diverge from Jewish and Christian traditions in some details.[1]

Religion and mythology

The discussion of religion in terms of mythology is a controversial topic.[2] The word "myth" is commonly used with connotations of falsehood,[3] reflecting a legacy of the derogatory early Christian usage of the Greek word muthos in the sense of "fable, fiction, lie" to refer to classical mythology.[4] However, the word is also used with other meanings in academic discourse. It may refer to "a story that serves to define the fundamental worldview of a culture"[3] or to stories which a given culture regards as true (as opposed to fables, which it recognizes as fictitious).[5] In the preface to The Oxford Companion to World Mythology Devid Leeming writes:[2]

I have treated the sacred narratives of the "great religions", including the monotheistic Abrahamic religions, as myths, not to deprecate those religions, but simply because to a believer in one religion the stories -- especially the supernatural ones -- of another religion tend to be seen as myth rather than history.